• Gov. Kathleen Sebelius
Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ State of the State Address did not directly mention the prolonged court battle over education funding in Kansas that ended—at least temporarily—last summer. But the governor did recognize the legislature’s success in increasing fiscal 2006 education spending by $290 million over the previous fiscal year.
“We all wondered when the state would pay its fair share—when it would commit itself to ensuring first-class schools in every Kansas community,” the Democrat said in her Jan. 9 speech.
Spending Plan: Citing a cost study of educational spending that the legislature requested last year and received earlier in the day, Gov. Sebelius asked the legislators to do even more in the 2006 session than they did last year.
In her fiscal 2007 budget plan, the governor recommends spending nearly $2.7 billion on K-12 education, an increase of roughly 3 percent over the current level.
The cost study, however, calls for the state to raise spending on K-12 schools by at least $316 million, and as much as $624 million, in the coming year. Ms. Sebelius’ budget did not account for that much extra funding, nor did she recommend, in her address, where the legislature should find the money she proposes to add.
An audio file of the governor’s speech is also posted. (Requires a media player.)
“But it isn’t just about money,” she told the legislators. “We can’t spend our way to excellence.”
Fiscal Audits:: She called for greater accountability through additional financial audits of individual districts to “ensure we get the best possible return on our investment.”
During the speech, the governor also introduced the Kansas Mentors program—an effort to recruit adults to serve as positive role models for children.